BAP074 Stress Management with YOEMI and #BELIEVE_Cafe

You didn’t miss this incredibly important show on managing the stress we are all feeling.  You can listen right here or on your favorite podcast app.
Listen to “BAP074 Managing Stress with YOMEI and BELIEVE Cafe” on Spreaker.

In this show, Dorina Sackman Ebua, AKA, Ms. Dorito, joined me again to take calls LIVE on VoicEdRadio. We have a great conversation with several listeners and we mention Dorina’s BELIEVE_Cafe series on Youtube several times.  I can’t recommend it enough.  We are so fortunate that Dorna is helping us now for THIRTY LESSONS on YouTube!  You can start her series aany time and many of our callers are grateful for how she is helping us to think constructively and behave wisely.  But this doesn’t happen overnight. Her series began to make a difference in my outlook immediately but I really started to benefit as I spent each week day morning working through the exercises in her playlist. Dorina is also giving free webinars like this one.  Reach out to her to find out about others. 

We were so grateful to hear from Jody Nolf, Michelle Van Balkom and Dawn Harris. Each called in and brought great insight for us to consider.  Each question, comment or connection helped steer the conversation towards what educators are really facing right now.

In this show, Aprile Williams of YOMEI (Yoga for Mindful Emotional Intelligence) was able to join us.  She is also doing her doctoral work on Transformative Emotional Intelligence.

This was a powerful hour for me. Like many of you, I’ve been experiencing ups and downs as think about the future and how things might look moving forward.  Although I’ve been in a funk lately, #BELIEVE_Cafe has been saving me.  As Dorina eloquently puts it on the show, stress is inevitable, how you handle it is optional. She and Aprile give us such great advice on how to handle the emotions we might be feeling.

April points out that we don’t need to feel badly about our emotions and the stress we feel.  She leads us in a 16 second breathing exercise that has been helping me ever since. She and Dorina are experts in the area of growing your emotional intelligence and I’m so glad that they both have a focus on supporting educators.

You can check out April’s courses right here.

And she is also on Facebook leading some of her exercises.

For folks checking in to this blog, Aprile is offering a 15% off discount for her classes.  Please enter this code at check out if you take a YOMEI class: BoostingAchievement

Thank you again to everyone who is interacting with us during our LIVE shows.   I’m getting so much from them and I hope you are too.

Thank you again to Dorina and Aprile and thank YOU for all your passion.

Please be safe, move forward bravely and stay healthy.



PS: Below are the latest webinars I am doing or have done recently.  They are both available in replay if you miss them. I’ll be sending out a post with more later this week.

May 19 @ 11am CT:

May 15 @ 12pm CT:


Teaching Science to ELs Authors Dr. Stephen Fleenor & Tina Beene

Dr. Stephen Fleenor and Tina Beene are on the show and we are so fortunate to get to learn from them in this episode.

You can listen to the show right here.
Listen to “BAP073 Fleenor and Beene EL Experts for Science & Social Studies Teaching” on Spreaker.

Stephen and Tina are my colleagues (and friends) and I’m thrilled that they have written an amazing book, Teaching Science to English Learners.  They each have their content area specializations. Stephen is our science expert and Tina is our go-to consultant for all things Social Studies.  All three of us are Seidlitz Education consultants so we have a strong focus on supporting English Learners and marginalized populations.  We were all trained in Seidlitz 7 Steps to a Language Rich Interactive Classroom (this is where QSSSA was born).  The research-based sheltered instruction principles of the 7 Steps are foundational to our work as a company and for us as individuals.

I had so many takeaways from this show!  Stephen and Tina helped me reflect on how important it is to keep a focus on a language rich classroom whether we are face to face or in a remote learning environment.  As Stephen put it, even in the virtual world, we need to offer students ways to have structured interactions with each other.  He actually just released a webinar on Fostering Interaction in an Online Classroom and you can watch it right here. In that webinar he is modeling QSSSA and other techniques you can use in the virtual world. He also recently published this 11 minute video on facilitating QSSSA in zoom breakout rooms.  I have watched it several times already!

As you listen to the show, you’ll understand why Tina and Stephen make such a great writing team.  I love having Tina back because she always helps me think deeply about how learning is impacted by how students contextualize concepts into their own world view.  With everything going on right now, I highly recommend all teachers watch this webinar she just released on offering Compelling Social Studies Content for Distance Learning.   And you can find her Teaching Social Studies to ELLs book right here.

Stephen and Tina co-wrote an amazing resource, Teaching Science to English Learners that is creating a buzz in the field because, just as Tina’s first book in this series, it focuses on low-prep, high yield strategies.  Is it any wonder that their books are among our best sellers?

I’m so happy to share more free content from these two! Don’t miss this article Stephen wrote for the Seidlitz blog:

Could Teaching English Learners Be One of the Secrets to Great Educational Leadership? by Dr. Stephen Fleenor

Or this one that Tina wrote about how to survive October… a time that typicially comes with many deadlines, stress and illness.  Her practical advice applies so much right now!

 October Is the Scariest Month of a Teacher’s Year.  by Tina Beene

I am so happy to have a few more Carol & Tina shows for you.  I also feel so fortunate that Tina partnered with me to deliver this VirtuEL presentation on Effective Questioning in Social Studies.  Check it out for a deep dive in QSSSA in Social Studies:

This is a link to the first time she was on this show.  I listen to this one often – it was foundational to units of study that propelled the learning in my newcomer class:

One more big thanks to these EduHeroes in the field!  I’m so proud to work with them.

Here is a workshop they are doing on November2nd  if you want to go ahead and register and mark your calendar for this:

As promised, here are links to some recent videos I’ve done for newcomer teachers:

Supporting SLIFE in Distance Learning was a webinar for Saddleback.  (general ideas of why they should be able to learn quickly and some strategies modeled.)

My 17 min MADPD video on Compelling Projects

My own Seidlitz webinar on how I would set up my newcomer/SLIFE class with authentic experiences.

My Kahoot session on Engaging ELs with Kahoot.

Hope those help add things to your toolbelt.

Thank you for stopping by this blog!

Stay strong and healthy,



BAP072 The Second BELIEVE_Cafe LIVE with Dorina

Huge numbers of teachers are struggling with mental health to different degrees.  This podcast addressed mental health of teachers and the stigma of mental health issues in the profession.  Dorina Ebuwa joined me for another call in show.

*Disclaimer: No one on this show is licensed to offer advice on mental health issues.  This show’s focus is on how we are all coping with the stresses of the current pandemic and how we are growing our own emotional intelligence.

We take calls that have us discussing lack of engagement from students and how to help ELs when you can’t be with them.

You can listen the show in two parts right here:

Part I

Listen to “BAP072 2nd BELIEVE Café LIVE with Dorina” on Spreaker.

Part II
Listen to “BAP072 Part II 2nd BELIEVE_Cafe LIVE (the rest of it)” on Spreaker.

In this episode, Dorina mentions:

Wendy Turner, M. Ed.


Dr. Brene Brown

Both are incredible folks to follow!

Big thanks to the folks who called in.  This week we had: Shaley Santiago, Michelle Van BalkomJody Nolf & Dr. Irina McGrathcall in with questions and insight.  We appreciate them and everyone who is listening.

If you are looking to UP your own social emotional intelligence, I can’t recommend Dorina’s #BELIEVE_Cafe series enough!  Take just a FEW minutes in the morning to grow how you respond to what is going on right now.  You’ll thank me.  Here is her playlist so you can get caught up 

Here is more on what Dorina can do for you and your district:

We hope you are enjoying these LIVE shows!

Here are other places you can find me:

Free Kahoot for ELs webinar on May 6th!  Register here:

Free Seidlitz Education Webinar on SLIFE.  This one is May 11th. Register here:

The above opportunities are free and this site has a TON of free resources for you.  But here comes the plug for online training or coaching in case you have a need for that.

I’d Love to Come and Work in Your District!

The Seidlitz Education team is really on a roll with our online trainings.  We are providing full day, half day and multi day sessions where we are modeling practical techniques for serving ELs that work in a face to face or online classroom. You can reach me at  Here is some recent feedback:

Thank you to our clients who are able to continue working with us. We are honored to support them!  And thank you to YOU for your desire to self-direct your learning on behalf of your students.  We have plenty here on this site for you!  Reach out if you need something specific.

I’d love to hear from you!



BAP071 #Believe_Cafe & Boosting Achievement LIVE March 28

Did you know that we are doing LIVE call-in shows on VoicEd Radio? Yep!  During this out of the ordinary time, we bring you out of the ordinary radio. I’m teaming up with Dorina Ebuwa, aka Miss Dorito because she is THE person we need to help us with our own Transformative Emotional Intelligence. This might be EXACTLY what you need right now.

You can listen to the show where ever you get your podcasts or right here:
Listen to “BAP071 1st Believe Cafe LIVE with Dorina” on Spreaker.

What is Transformative Emotional Intelligence? Listen to this episode so you can get some insight from Dorina and also hear how it is making such a difference for me and others in our PLN.  Among other things, Dorina challenges us to consider that many educators are experiencing Compassion Fatigue & Vicarious Trauma right now.

Incremental is monumental – @Dorina_Believe

In the show we answer some questions about how to best support teachers right now from our perspective. We also draw on the expertise of our guests!

Just do a quick search on #Believe_Cafe to see some of the positive impact this work is having. Please check out Dorina’s Belive_Cafe show weekday mornings! Here is the playlist to get all caught up.

Our next call in show will be April 18 at 1:00pm ET.  Be sure to tune in to at that time to hear us LIVE.

Jennifer Gonzalez, Irina McGrath and Carly Spina are all mentioned on this show.

Many thanks to these folks who called in to add to the conversation:

Traci Broward

Shilpa Palawat

Michelle Shory

Tina Bergman

What else is going on right now?  Glad you asked!  Here is my 8 min rundown of what I’m tuned in to this week:

Thank you,Dorina and thanks to everyone stopping by this show or this blog.

Stay Healthy.  We love you!


Supporting SLIFE & Marginalized Populations During Covid19

This article was originally published in  Larry Ferlazzo’s EdWeek Teacher column which you can read right here. You should definitely check out that article for more insight from Tan Huynh and Sara Said.

Refugees and Recent Immigrants, Keeping the Achievement Gap to A Minimum During Covid19

By Carol Salva, Educational Consultant, Seidlitz Education

The Challenges

One of the biggest challenges facing educators during this Coronavirus pandemic, is how to support students who were already at a disadvantage academically.  While remote learning can be difficult for any child, Language Learners and students of poverty face unique challenges as the world shifts to distance learning.  

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus on secondary Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education (SLIFE).  More specifically, the under-educated students who are new to the English language, are new to American education and may also be new to technology. 

I want to begin by calling out the profound lack of equity we are witnessing where these students are concerned.  We can’t ignore the division between those with access to digital media and those without such access (van Dijk, 2020). We need to shine a bright light on the negative outcomes of the Digital Divide and demand a change moving forward.  But I’m going to push that soapbox to the end of this article and start by offering ideas to help teachers of SLIFE be productive at this time.

The Essential Messages

If you are supporting a language learner who is SLIFE, and may not have access to technology or may lack the experience of using technology, I highly recommend that you align your efforts with four essential messages recommended by John Seidlitz (2019) for working with English Learners (ELs).  


  • You are important.
  • What We are Learning is Important.
  • We Will Not Give Up on You.
  • You CAN do it.


The Ideas

Ideas for sending the YOU ARE IMPORTANT message:

  • Reach out to these families regularly. 
  • Communication apps like Talking Points or Remind
  • Text, call, write letters or postcards. 
  • United Way Helpline (2-1-1) or for area services
  • Immigrants and Refugees and Schools: Laura Gardner, consultant. Family Engagement for Refugees and Immigrants Resources.
  • Book drive & distribution
  • Try to reach through friends or family.
  • Include them in class meetings via phone 
  • *Any of the following efforts helps send the message that students are important.

Ideas for sending the WHAT WE ARE LEARNING IS IMPORTANT message:

  • Be explicit about why the work is important.
  • Get training in the basics of Balanced Literacy to be able to infuse reading and writing support in virtual lessons. 
  • Get training in the basics of Second Language Acquisition and techniques for working with English learners  Free webinars abound for this right now
  • Encourage native language literacy.
  • In the absence of technology, we can send home different leveled readers and encourage students to list, label and copy text in combination with illustrations, creating models or using native language.
  • *Many of the other ideas give the message that what they are learning is important.

Ideas for sending the WE WILL NOT GIVE UP ON YOU message:

  • Check in regularly and continue to offer ideas for reading and writing.  
  • Share public broadcasting stations and any education programs. ie:
  • Send authentic letters and ask them to write back.
  • Organize community partners postcard writing campaign.
  • Remind students to read as much as possible (in any language). Remind them of how they are going to gain literacy, the importance of being in print as much as possible. 
  • Find resources at this padlet ( for engaging projects that students can do asynchronously & share synchronously.  Websites for self directed reading are also included there.
  • Remember that many virtual meeting platforms allow call-in from a land line or cell phone – include them as much as possible.  The tech on your end can help you communicate.
  • Send links for videos that teach them how to use an ipad, a chromebook, or other technology.
  • Remind/show students that youtube videos can be slowed down, closed captions in different languages, other language support with tech.
  • *Many of the other ideas give the message that you’re not giving up on them.

Ideas for sending the YOU CAN DO IT message:

  • Show students their progress often.
  • Share stories of inspiration with all students.
  • Create a video to show students how to use chrome extensions for text-to-speech, voice-typing, etc.  
  • Send links for youtube videos with culturally responsive narratives of people, like them, who have overcome similar challenges
  • Send printed blog posts, links, passages of the same type of inspiring narratives. Many are located at this padlet:
  • Council students to understand the plan for learners who may not pass a class or a grade level.  They need to remember that summer school, repeated attempts, tutorials, are all opportunities to improve and get closer to their ultimate goal.
  • Make sure they understand growth-mindset.  We get smarter, we improve, with more effort. 
  • *Continued effort and support should lead to gains that help reinforce a student’s perception of their own abilities.

The Long Game

I’ve worked with under-schooled learners for many years and I’ve been amazed at the positive outcomes they can realize when the student and the educator focus on what is possible in the long run.  Students who arrived having experienced years of trauma, with no native language literacy, go on to not only catch up, but pass up native English peers. In my experience, these students make the most progress when we partner with them to understand how they are going to advance in their literacy and how they can participate in grade-level learning.  One student, Kamal, who still lacks native language literacy, recently told us that he follows the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. when he feels like giving up. He tells himself that he needs to keep moving forward. You and your students can listen to Kamal right here:

The Inequity

I want to lift up all education professionals for the amazing work being done to support these children and all children.  I applaud everyone scrambling to create packets so that every child has some type of curriculum materials while away from school. And many of our colleagues are risking personal harm to provide these materials or even a new electronic device to students like these.  We should be grateful because much is possible with these tools. 

That said, we must realize that we are not offering equity.  

Our goal must be equity, and when we say equity we are talking about a level playing field. An equitable learning experience would mean that we are meeting students at their level academically and offering access to the grade level content regardless of their proficiency in the language of instruction and regardless of their socioeconomic status.  

Your Plan for Moving Forward

As we do what we can to support students with limited education it is important to reflect on what we might have done differently if we’d known the pandemic would have us at home for so long. One of the silver linings to this devastating virus is that so many people are seeing the inequity that advocates of marginalized populations have seen for years.  The world can’t look away from it right now. When schools go to remote learning, the Digital Divide grows greater.  Knowing this, seeing what we are seeing, is it any question as to how we must plan for the future?  We can help the students who have limited access to tech and little understanding of how to be productive in this current academic environment. We CAN help them.  But they shouldn’t be at such an alarming disadvantage.  The inequity should never be this profound again. Administrators and program leaders must learn from this experience and prioritize these learners in their new and improved plans they will make for the next time we take school online. 


Hammond, Z. (2015). Culturally responsive teaching and the brain: promoting authentic engagement and rigor among culturally and linguistically diverse students. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Otheguy, R., García, O., & Reid, W. (2019). A translanguaging view of the linguistic system of bilinguals. Applied Linguistics Review, 10(4), 625-651.

Seidlitz, J. (2019). Sheltered instruction in Texas: second language acquisition methods for teachers of ELs. Irving, TX: Seidlitz Education.

van Dijk, J. (2020). The digital divide. S.1.: Polity Press 

Villacorta, M. A. (2006). Contingencies of self -worth: Implications for self -determination (Order No. 3208564). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (305313439). Retrieved from


BAP070 Brad Shreffler on Tech4ELs

Need digital support?  Me too.  I can’t help you with your specific Zoom needs (this might help with that) but I CAN offer you some great support for how we may want to be thinking about tech right now.    In this episode, we hear from Brad Shreffler who is a Digital Instruction Coach at a large public middle school in Central Florida. Listen to the show in your own podcast app, on Voiced Radio or right here:
Listen to “BAP070 Brad Schreffler on Tech for ELs 2” on Spreaker.

Brad Shreffler’s job usually includes assisting teachers with the implementation of instructional technology in their courses as a part of the Digital One-To-One initiative.  Like most of us, the COVID19 pandemic has brought new challenges to Brad’s role, but he seems to be handling them with grace.  We actually scheduled this conversation long ago but ironically, we ended up speaking at the beginning of our lockdown.  Brad’s voice is precisely what I need in this time of uncertainty.

Many of us are experiencing anxiety over the tech-heavy new reality of our jobs.  But reflecting and speaking to Brad brings me comfort. It always has! He is one of my favorite people in the world and was always someone who gave me hope.  I follow Brad because technology has been a big part of the success of the students I served.

English learners and students with limited education can participate at grade level, immediately, when we scaffold instruction. Tech helps us do just that.

What a great voice Brad is for us right now.  Consider the fact that he launched a one-to-one initiative at the largest high school in the United States (4,000 students)…and then took an assignment to do the same at a middle school where he is now.Great idea This makes me want to know more about what is happening at Brad’s school.

Tech for ELs – Boosts Achievement for ALL

In the show, Brad explains that his students, who also function as tech support for the campus, are building valuable skills that serve as on-the-job training which is valuable experience whether you pursue a career in tech or not. His class/tech-support team is such a great model for others who are now being launched into a more tech-heavy reality.

One of my favorite parts of this episode is when Brad explains that he actively seeks out EL students for his class.  His school has a heavy EL population so, much like in the real world, having a team with a diverse linguistic background is a bonus.

“I actively seek out ELLs… Even if they don’t have a ton of English proficiency.  Now I am able to encourage this student to feel more confident. – @BradShreffler

I’m so inspired by how Brad explains that emergent bilinguals on his team will still need to work with him to understand how to provide the technology support to their “clients” (students in the school).  This offers authentic opportunities to build language while immersed in meaningful learning opportunities.  It is a win-win-win for the ELs, for Brad and for the student body.  LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!

“He still needs to come to me and explain in English ‘this is thee problem…how do I fix it?’ so I am interacting with him in English but he is still getting to tap into his strength of having a foreign language available. – @BradShreffler.

Brad and I also discuss some of the silver linings that exist for language learners because of our current situation.  Neither of us would with this pandemic on the world.  But we are both trying to focus on the things we can control and the things that will result in positive outcomes for students.

Our conversation goes on to point out the difficulties teachers are facing as we all ramp up our tech skills.  The silver lining there is that we are all becoming more tech savvy with each passing day.  The parallels for our ELs are direct! They also become more proficient each day, even if they are going through difficult circumstances, even if the tasks are cognitively demanding. What an empathy project this is!

Brad acknowledges the unbelievably scary situation of the world right now.  He makes sure to voice that he is not downplaying that or taking it lightly.  But I appreciate his point of view when he asks us to consider the flip side:

“This feels like the most promising time in education.”-@BradShreffler

“Education doesn’t change very fast…because it is such a big machine…it’s like steering the Titanic.  Now all of the sudden, we have the ability to steer the titanic like an F-18… We are in this place to blaze a new path.” @BradShreffler

“Teachers being more confident with technology can only help our ELL students.”@BradShreffler

Brad and I both marvel over the job of a teacher and how under-appreciated that may have once been.  But he points out that everyone he knows is commenting on how hard it is to teach their children and how much they appreciate educators right now.  I find that one of the most important silver linings of all – a light shining on the profession.  More discussion around the important work  teachers do and what they need to be able to serve their students.

I am so grateful for Brad Shreffler for coming on the show.  I would highly recommend you subscribe to his Planning Period Podcast so you can get regular doses of his mindset like I do.  On his show (which has about 120 episodes) Brad interviews education stakeholders from around the globe.  He describes the show as:  a place where he and his guests discuss the biggest issues facing education and what we can do to address them. Brad and his guests look ahead at future issues while addressing the realities of today. This show is for anyone who finds themselves getting into deep conversations in the breakroom during their planning period or anyone who wishes they could.

I was honored to be on the Planning Period Podcast back in 2018 so if you want more Brad & Carol conversation, you can listen to that show right here. #EdBreakroom

So, YES!  Follow Brad Shreffler.  He will better your life.  I know he betters mine and he has for some time now.

Thank you for stopping by this blog/podcast.  I hope you are well and I hope you can feel the vibes I am trying to send to you.  They are vibes of empowerment.

Look forward.

Bitmoji Image


PS: During our conversation I mention the #Believe_Cafe & Miss Dorito for help with our own social and emotional intelligence.  Go check it out! That happens every weekday! See you there!


VirtuEL Web Meetups – Join Us!

Our next live VirtuEL meetup is March 24, 2020 at 7:00pm CT.  Please join us whether you participated in VirtuEL or not. Our goal is to raise awareness of the free, online conference for teachers of ELs and also to gather virtually as a reboot of the past conferences. (Many of us NEED a way to socially gather right now.)

Our most recent meetup happened on 3/17/20. This is a casual gathering where we are reflecting on the learning. Nancy Motley (her keynote was the topic of the discussion)popped in!  You can watch that video right here:

We were discussing the 2017 Keynote and conference.

To join the next web meeting, visit to check out the 2018 keynote. Then log into the zoom with us (link at the VirtuEL website) to hear Tan Huynh and  Dr. Irina McGrath discuss that year’s keynote by Jana Echevarria, PhD.  Most of us will be typing in the chat so come join us!  This is from my personal zoom account so we have a 100 person maximum on the meeting.  But the video will be available in replay.

Also join the slow chat this week at #VirtuEL.  The great Irina McGrath, PhD is hosting that conversation around the 2018 sessions.

Hope to see you this week!



BAP069 We Can Do This.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, this episode may help. You can listen to it right here or in your favorite podcast app:

Listen to “BAP069 We Can Do This” on Spreaker.

There are so many challenges right now. We are being called upon to step up as educators, as parents and as human beings.  It seems like too much to ask, I know.  But I would offer you that you are so much stronger than you know.  You many not realize how strong you are.  But it is times like these that we find out.

Ideas that come up a few times:

  1. Flood yourself with things that help you feel productive (with family, work & yourself)
  2. Be informed but don’t spend all your time on the negative aspects of the news.
  3. Focus on what you CAN control.
  4. Look at the long game.  Realize that there will be some positive outcomes.  Some we can already see. Some we can’t even imagine.
  5. Appreciate the perspective of our refugee and immigrant students who have gone through difficult times and have earned perspective, patience, grit and more. *We are building some of that right now.
  6. You’re growing new skills with tech.  Like it or not, you’re growing.

Gathering Virtually

The great news is that we are all SO MUCH stronger together.  Many of us are feeling isolated right now, but we can take steps to mitigate that feeling.  Your community is still out there.  We are so fortunate to have ways to connect and I would encourage you to plug in to groups of like minded, positive people.  At the very least, please balance what you see in the news, with positive messages and things that make you feel productive

Links to a few things I mention in this show

Duncan YMCA Exercise Channel – free workout videos should be published week of March 23, 2020

The Free Boosting Achievement Book Study with supplemental materials – great stuff at this link for what we are dealing with right now.

Webinar with Laura Gardner – March 27, 2020 @ 10:30am.  Supporting Immigrants and Refugees Families During Remote Learning.

FOLLOW LAURA GARDNER @lauragardner79 RIGHT NOW if you can’t wait until Friday. She is sharing a lot of resources like this. 

Leading ELLs Facebook Group and Pam Broussard – My top tip for finding resources or support right now if you teach newcomers. You can search the group,  ask a question or add some advice for others.  SO much is being shared for teachers of newcomers. Pam teaches new arrival students and founded the group.

Talking Points – recommended by teachers who don’t speak the language of their students or only have a phone number.

Snapchat Friendmoji

Diane Stahr Fenner’s company, Support Ed just gave a great webinar on supporting ELs with online learning.  You can access her past webinars here:

I mentioned these two new ESL-focused podcasts that have just joined the VoicEd Radio family.  I’m excited because I love both of these shows and I’ve been fortunate to be a guest on both of them as well.  Check them out!

Thank you for stopping by this podcast post.

I know this is really difficult.  And that it is mentally exhausting.  But I also know that we will get through it so much better if we keep our eyes on the future, do what we can and look for the hope.  The hope is there. If you keep yourself in a productive mindset, focus on what you CAN control, and realize that you are able to step up when you need to, you’ll have more strength and perseverance.  You can do hard things.  You are an educator. YOU are the hope.

Stay safe.


BAP068 Jordan Mayer, Phonics and Finding The Right Starting Point for ELs

I hope this podcast and blog post finds you well.  Jordan Mayer recorded this episode with me in February, prior to the current state we are in with the Coronavirus.    Instead of holding off on publishing this show, I found it a very healthy thing to do for my mindset.  I always feel centered when I am working on something productive.  I offer you that idea in case you are feeling isolated or anxious.  Blogging, journaling or reflecting in other ways might help you as it helps me. Here are the show notes:

Jordan Mayer is a former 1st grade teacher and now teaches high school in British Columbia.  He is a fantastic PLN member who shares great stuff.  You can follow him on Twitter here and you can also subscribe to his blog.

You can listen to our conversation wherever you get your podcasts or right here.

Listen to “BAP068 Jordan Mayer and The Right Starting Point for ELs” on Spreaker.

I mentioned to Jordan that I had recently read a blog post about supporting each other as teachers.  That blog post has a powerful message about support over judgement.  I recommend you check it out!

In that post he describes his years as a new 1st grade teacher.  This primary grade experience gives him a great perspective for foundations of literacy.  Jordan came on the show as a result of this blog post he wrote in February.  Jordan noticed a reading issue in one of his English Learners.  He and his team spent time working with the girl and because of Jordan’s background, they identified that the girl was unable to sound out words.

It is important to know that this student could read and could speak in English fairly well.  So this disconnect prompted Jordan to investigate further.  In the show, he discusses resources like the nonsense word test  that he shared in this post about the issue.

In our discussion, we unpack a lot of things about how we each feel about phonics instruction.  We both feel that there is a need for explicit phonics instruction but we have different approaches to how we deliver that instruction.  What we agree on is that you need to get to know your kids and make sure you are not wasting time doing lessons on sounds or blends that your students may already have or may be gaining quickly.

We mention this show by Larry Ferlazzo. In it, Larry and his guests Casey Schultz, Mandy Ellis, Dr. Carolyn Brown, Dr. Jerry Zimmerman, Kelly Wickham Hurst, and the late Dr. Kay MacPhee, who contributed a response prior to her death, discuss the role of phonics in reading instruction.

I encourage you to check out the post by Larry and the ones by Jordan.

People like Jordan, Larry and his guests are helping us with more ideas of how we might meet the needs of our unique students each year.  I’m grateful to them and I am grateful to you.

Thank you for stopping by this blog,



Many folks are disappointed in light of the recent cancellations of EL conferences.  Tan Huynh and I want to remind you that you have three years of EL Conference greatness available on YouTube.  Please join us for a reboot webinar on Tuesday March 17 at 6:30pm CT.

We are creating new content around the existing conferences for the next 3 weeks.  And this is all  leading up to the 2020 conference announcements.  Feel free to check out and share all the sessions. You can find them here.

PSS: The 1.5 hour Success for SLIFE webinar is now available in replay.  You do need to sign in to the NAELPA website to watch it, but that is a free registration.

SLIFE Webinar

This SLIFE webinar took place yesterday.  Sorry if you got a notification again.  I am still learning about mailchimp!

Here is the link to see it in replay:  If you sign in to the NAELPA website (which is free, just create a free log in) you will be able to find it in the dropdown menu.

If you serve ANY English Learners, you’ll love the information I share in this free PD for the National Association of English Learner Program Administrators.  The focus is Success for SLIFE (Students with Limited or Interrupted Formal Education). Bring questions for the chat!

While NAELPA supports state and local EL program leadership (be sure to forward this to your administrators, principals, directors, coordinators…), we want to be clear that EVERYONE is welcome.  Teachers, specialists, community members and any stakeholders are welcome to join us as we collaborate to support the program leaders that support language learners.

We can’t always get to a conference or a workshop so I’m honored to share in this format that is available to everyone, on demand. Once the video is available in replay, you will want to share it out to support anyone who serves new arrival students.

Hope you enjoy the content!